Key Indiana Pacers Games to Watch in March

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 4, 2013

Key Indiana Pacers Games to Watch in March

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    The Indiana Pacers have some very exciting games coming up in the month of March.  With just a few games remaining, every remaining matchup is important.  If they hope to challenge the Miami Heat for the No.1 seed in the East, they will have to win nearly all of their remaining games.

    The No.2 seed in the East is quite an accomplishment, especially for a team that doesn't have a true superstar.  The entire team is playing well and they are boasting the best defense in the NBA.

    That being said, there are a few big games in March that will really challenge the Pacers.  Here are five games to look out for this month.

March 10 at Miami Heat

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    The Miami Heat aren't exactly friends with the Pacers this year.

    It appears that a rivalry has begun to form against these two teams. It started during last year's playoffs when the Pacers gave the Heat a tough matchup, pushing the series to six games. Although the Pacers didn't advance, it helped motivate them for this season.

    So far, the Pacers have won both games against the Heat this year. They won by 10 points in the first meeting and 13 in the second.

    With the final game between the two approaching, the Pacers have a chance to sweep the season series. The Heat will be looking to do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't happen.

    The Pacers will have to be careful, as the Heat are the hottest team in the league right now.  LeBron James has been fantastic, shooting over 56 percent this season. 

    If the Heat begin to falter, this game could be important in the race for the top seed. Although the Pacers are still pretty far back, this game could be very important by the end of the year.

March 15 vs. Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Los Angeles Lakers have been the most disappointing team in the NBA this season, hovering around only .500 for the season.

    However, this game will be very important for the Pacers.

    This will be a great game to see how Roy Hibbert can do handling an elite center like Dwight Howard on both ends of the court.

    In the previous matchup between the two, Hibbert only played 18 minutes. It's hard to judge how well he did against Howard with such a small sample. This game will show how good Hibbert can do against arguably the best center in the league.

    This game will also show if the Pacers can adjust from the last meeting and work to contain Kobe Bryant further.  Bryant had 40 points in the losing effort against the Pacers the last time they met.

    Other than the scoring outburst, the Pacers didn't do too bad of a job against Bryant.  They held him to 12-28 shooting while forcing him to commit 10 turnovers.

    These will be two big things to watch for in this matchup.  Containing both Howard and Bryant would be a really good sign heading into the playoffs.

March 23 at Chicago Bulls

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    The Pacers recently defeated the Chicago Bulls 97-92. They are now 3-0 against the Bulls this year, with only one game remaining against them.

    That game will come near the end of March, with seeding on the line for both teams.

    The Bulls currently hold the fifth seed in the East, while the Pacers have the second seed.  Near the end of the year, this game will be very important in terms of positioning for a playoff spot.

    With all of the history between these two teams, a season sweep for the Pacers would be a big deal.  Even if the Bulls haven't had Derrick Rose all year, they are still a good team that would be very surprised to be swept by anyone in their division.

March 25 vs. Atlanta Hawks

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    If there is one team that people seem to forget about every year, it's the Atlanta Hawks.

    The Hawks are quietly still one of the top teams in the East, holding a fourth seed in the conference.  The play of guys like Josh Smith and Al Horford have kept the Hawks relevant all year, despite the lack of media attention.

    This game will be another interesting matchup.  One of the stories will be Jeff Teague returning to play again in his hometown.  Teague went to Pike High School in the Indianapolis area, where he was then recruited by Wake Forest.

    This will be a good test for all of the Pacers starters defensively.  All five of the starters for the Hawks average at least 10 points per game, meaning that anyone on the floor is a threat to score. 

    The Pacers will need to keep winning late in the year, and this game will be no different.

March 27 at Houston Rockets

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    The end of March features some very tough games, and the matchup against the Houston Rockets will be no different.

    The Pacers have the best defense in the league and the Rockets have the league's best offense.  When those two come together, it leads to a pretty intriguing game.

    The previous meeting between the two wasn't that close, as the Pacers won 105-95.

    This time around, the Rockets may be fighting for a playoff spot.  They currently only hold the eighth seed in the West, with the Lakers close behind.  This game may be vital for them making it into the playoffs this season.

    The defense for the Pacers will be put to the test, with players like Jeremy Lin and James Harden creating difficult matchups.  Other players like Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino could also be big scoring threats.

    Overall, this could be one of the more exciting games in the NBA at the end of March.  Expect big things from both teams.